Like the last reviewer, I was also expecting at least a hint at BillW's notorious womanizing, and it was disappointing that Lois W'sexperience wasn't fully represented. But I think the movie wassuccessful in capturing the ongoing destructiveness of the disease andeventual dissolution of hope, as well as the expectation that love canfix everything. The acting was real. Winona Ryder's beauty is toneddown but she is still beautiful and also believable, and--like mostalcoholics I know--Barry Pepper's Bill W was mesmerizing andcharismatic. When he's on screen, you can't take your eyes off him.It's a beautiful movie to watch, with lush sets and costumes. Thepacing is good, as well.User: michaelgm
After I watched this eagerly awaited, but ultimately disappointingfilm, one of my first thoughts was that this film needed its ownversion of Al-Anon. Lois Wilson, like many spouses of users, spent allof her energies dealing with the fall-out of living with an alcoholic;did the movie have to do the same thing? When one has less than twohours to tell a complex story about a fascinating woman, did we reallyneed an hour and twenty or thirty minutes of the constant cycle ofdankness, shame, recriminations, and broken promises? Don't get mewrong, I'm sure this harrowing cycle repeats itself in every user'shome--it's just that when there was so little time to tell such acomplicated story, I would have preferred less binges and morecharacter development. I didn't get a good sense of what drew these twotogether in the first place. There were so few scenes other than thoseof "saintly wife props up troubled husband," that I just didn't get asense of them as a married couple. I didn't feel Pepper and Ryder hadthat much chemistry together. Since much was made of the fact that thereal Lois Wilson was 3 or 4 years older than Bill, it didn't help thesituation to cast an actress with such a youthful persons with an actorwho always looked appreciably older than her--and, yes, I know drinkages you, but he looked a lot older than her at the wedding. Hallmarkseems to have lost its mojo.
Poster formerly known as FilmNutgm
"When Love Is Not Enough" is a film of a very specific style. That sortof style most commonly seen in films which consider the most effectiveway to depict a period drama is in mimicking the film-making style ofsaid period. If you can swallow all the tear-jerking music and glossycinematography, you will certainly appreciate the story better. But Ifound myself aching for a little bit more grittiness. Even much olderalcoholic dramas such as "The Lost Weekend" or "Days of Wine and Roses"had a degree of emotional intensity not quite present here. Then again,this is a TV movie, and similar expectations are not necessarily inplay.
Winona Ryder and Barry Pepper are two of my favorite actors. They don'tdisappoint here. Pepper (as Bill Wilson) is appropriately pathetic forthe better half of the film, believably drunk and unhinged. Ryder (asBill's wife, Lois) is given somewhat less to work with. Some of herdialogue during the more intense arguments is so wordy and roundaboutthat she seems tied between losing her breath and keeping a straightface. Both of which tend to get in the way of projecting emotion.
It's a good enough film. The story takes you through the events of Billand Lois' married life, always without making you feel like it'sarbitrary or scripted out. The unfortunate side is how John KentHarrison doesn't offer anything at all outstanding with his direction.The look is flat, clean, ordinary. He sometimes uses off-kilter anglesin the composition, which is always distracting and immediately makesone think of 1960s television shows. Harrison prevents the actors frompushing further than expected, and gives nothing but limitations to theproduction.
In the end, this is probably worth watching. The actors give enoughguts and passion to make it worth your time. It's nothing to subverteven the lowest of expectations, but you get the sense that everyonetried their best. And that's commendable, even when their best is notenough.
Just watched this "Hallmark Hall of Fame" TV movie on my DVR. It starsWinona Ryder as the wife of the founder of Alcoholics Annonymous, BillWilson, here portrayed by Barry Pepper. Over and over again, after hegoes from the joys of Wall Street to the firing after the Stock MarketCrash, Lois suffers from his constant drinking despite frequentpromises to stop until he hits rock bottom and starts his program. Butshe still can't have him to herself so when she invites the other wivesof reformed alcoholics to the home, she inadvertently starts her owngroup called Al-Anon. I have to tell you right now, all those scenes ofMs. Ryder just crying and getting angry really put me through theringer! I've read about some of the omissions of their lives in theother comments but despite that, I found this film very compelling towatch and quite inspirational too. So on that note, I highly recommendWhen Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story.User: vchimpanzee
At the beginning of this fact-based Hallmark Hall of Fame presentationabout the couple who helped start Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois and BillWilson get married in 1918 before he goes off to serve in World War I.
After the war, Bill returns home and works on Wall Street. Lois, whosefather is a doctor, works as a nurse with the mentally ill.
Bill realizes that it would be helpful for investors to know about thecompanies they invest in, so he starts analyzing the companies,something not done much in the past. This involves lots of travel,including a motorcycle trip with Lois that involves comicmisadventures.
The work is stressful but eventually rewarding. Bill copes with thestress by drinking. He and his friends often get together and drink.Never mind Prohibition. Everyone in this movie finds a way.
Bill gets abusive when he drinks, but he keeps promising he will stop.And then he eventually starts again and the problems continue.
Lois gets pregnant but can never carry a baby to term. Perhaps this isall for the best since it wouldn't be a good idea to bring up a childin a home where the father behaves the way Bill sometimes does. One ofthe couple's friends admits this when the couple tries to adopt.
The Depression eventually puts an end to the prosperity the Wilsons andso many others have experienced. Bill finds this a reason to drink, butsooner or later he will have to stop one way or another.
This movie does a good job of showing how hard it is to stop drinkingand to keep from starting again, and shows how it is possible forpeople with a common problem to support each other.
Winona Ryder and Barry Pepper both do a very good job. I expect Ryderto be nominated for some award.
I enjoyed the music. During the 1920s, there is a lot of music whichone could dance the Charleston to, but there are also other enjoyablestyles of music from that era. One song included a fiddle and severalother instruments.
I wouldn't recommend this to young children because the subject matteris quite adult, but this is still a family movie in a sense and doesn'treally include offensive content. So much of the movie is depressingand hard to watch, but there is plenty of positive content too.
It's a worthy effort.
Hallmark Hall of Fame presented this version of the true story of LoisWilson - wife of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilsoon - tonightfor the very first time. This film, while reminiscent of the 1989 film,"My Name is Bill W.," has a fresh angle on the story because this isthe tale as told by Bill W's wife in her book by the same name. ("MyName is Bill W." is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame film.) Winony Ryderplays Lois Wilson and ages from 20 to 50 in the film. Ryder does afantastic job of portraying the good, bad and very bad timesexperienced by long-suffering Lois. Barry Pepper is Bill Wilson anddoes a fantastic job of playing Bill. He looks very much like Wilsonand possessed the acting skills necessary to keep the audience on theroller coaster ride from young soldier to husband to successful stockbroker to broken down drunk and beyond. I loved the fact that they keptthe story line with Lois and only portrayed Bill Wilson's role asneeded for continuity.
I found the scene when Lois' mother gave Lois advice on her deathbed tobe particularly poignant and heart wrenching. For Alcoholics Anonymousmembers, this is a film about the founder of AA and his wife. ForAl-Anon members, this is a filmed dedication to their founder. If youare a fan of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, you will love thisfilm. For others I think this film is definitely worth a watch - ifnothing else it should serve as a warning to those who have a drinkingproblem that it is time to stop.
As a recovered alcoholic and student of AA history, I found myselfshaking my head with both disappointment and amusement as I watchedthis movie. In addition to the overly melodramatic tone, the story leftout several critical facts, among them: (1) Bill W. was an absolutelynotorious womanizer, not only while drinking but also after he gotsober, even going so far as to leave 10% of his Big Book royalties tohis favorite mistress, Helen W.; (2) the writing of the Big Book was acollaboration, and several chapters were not written by Bill W.,although he alone got royalties; (3) the chapter in the BB entitled "ToWives", which was presented as having been written by Lois, wasactually written by Bill, who apparently did not believe that she coulddo it justice--this infuriated Lois (and one can only imagine herthoughts about Bill's bequest to his mistress).
To my mind, leaving those things out turned this story into nothingmore than Hallmark's usual pabulum. I would vastly have preferred thetruth, which is that Lois never stopped putting up with an incredibledegree of selfishness and arrogance from Bill, because he cheated onher for their entire marriage. Not only that, but his predatorybehavior was a big problem in early AA, so much so that a "FoundersWatch" committee was formed in an attempt to keep him from hitting onthe attractive, vulnerable women coming to the program for help. Thesickening sweetness with which Bill and Lois's relationship wasportrayed did nothing to edify: it was like a typical, predicable, andultimately untruthful AA lead in which the alcoholic finds AA, receivesthe "miracle of sobriety" and lives happy ever after.
The one thing I did like about the movie was that it presented Al-Anonfor the most part as what Al-Anon actually is: a 12 step program wheremembers work exactly the same steps as AA. Many people, includingmental health professionals, mistakenly believe that Al-Anon exists tohelp family members understand what the alcoholic is going through, orto help him or her quit drinking, when nothing could be further fromthe truth.